— Man, what a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day* for Auburn. Just enough spunk there in that third quarter to make you think about miracles and whatnot, only for the offense and special teams to revert back to the same carnival of mistakes we saw in the first half.
— Major, major work to be done in the passing game. Todd was awful, the line couldn’t protect him, receivers couldn’t get themselves open downfield … and all against a team that to this point of the season has been one of the worst in the country in defending the pass. Right now it’s a pretty severe outlier for both teams, so I wouldn’t expect a repeat performance for Todd and Co. next week … but this is now two straight weeks Todd hasn’t been able to get his wideouts involved. It’s worrying.
— I do think, though, that’s really the only “alarm bell” to sound here–the running game got its licks in, the defense did about the best it could given what it faced in terms of field position/offensive collapse and the talent and coaching on the opposite sideline, and if you assume Fannin’s not going to be victimized by as pefect a strip as you’ll ever see a second time, Auburn was fine in punting, placekicking, and their own return game.
— Of course, kickoff coverage is still a massive, gaping wound. It’s something Arkansas’s particularly good at, but it’s also not like Auburn gets any relief in the schedule, either. Who’s excited about facing Derrick Locke and Trindon Holliday the next two weeks?
— What in the hell is up with Ben Tate in the red zone? If I’m not mistaken, he’s fumbled three times this season– and all three have come inside the opponent’s 10-yard line. Does Auburn have a sports shrink he can see? Becuase that seems awfully mental to me.
— I might not say something like this if the Alabama bloggers hadn’t already said it, but … Arkansas’s kind of a buncha punks, man. The uncalled leg whip in the first half. The chop block. Their defender grinding his helmet so firmly into Tate’s facemask his freaking helmet comes off. (How A.J. Green celebrating a potential game-winning touchdown is unsportsmanlike and that little maneuver isn’t is beyond me.) [UPDATE: That particular complaint is redacted. On second viewing the Arkansas defender’s helmet just stuck in the Auburn player’s facemask. There was no grinding. Apologies.] There’s no place in the game for any of that stuff.
— Auburn is still 5-1 and their one loss has come on the road to an explosive, well-coached upper-echelon SEC team. And although I don’t think anyone would dare argue that the Hogs weren’t the better team by a mile today, the game could still have been very different without a whole cavalcade of Auburn mistakes we just hadn’t seen from them the season’s first five weeks. Assuming SuperTodd comes back to us, the Tigers might not be the SEC contendahs we let ourselves hope they were for this past week, but they’re OK. They’ll be OK.
Enjoy the afternoon and evening games, War Eagle, and I’ll see you tomorrow.
— Oh there’s that other shoe. I was wondering when it was going to drop.
— Looks like there’s at least one thing still left over the Tubby regime: the ability to completely implode in early kickoffs vs. Arkansas.
— Honestly, I’m not that upset about this. Arkansas’s a good team that was due for a really good performance and has to have had a certain desperation, Auburn is a good team that was due for a severely-off performance and had to have had a certain satisfaction … and the game’s in Fayetteville. This is the way SEC football usually works.
— I’m not going to say a single bad word about our defense. We’ve known all year that the dam would break if the offense ever had the kind of half it just had … and not only did the offense have that kind of half, the special teams shortchanged them twice on top of it. Maybe against a Tennessee or a La. Tech we could get away with that. Not against a Bobby Petrino team on the road. As soon as Fannin fumbled, the game was over.
— As for the offense, it’s been a lethal combination of two things:
1. Todd has been disastrous.
2. First downs have been disastrous.
The result is that Auburn’s facing 2nd- and 3rd- and long and being forced to put the ball in the hands of a quarterback who’s having a 2008 kind of day at the helm. Put those two things together, and voila: 108 total yards at the break.
— In some ways, it’s also just one of those days. When Trott has made his block on the swing pass and Fannin is open for an easy six or seven yards, Fannin drops it. When Trott has totally whiffed on his block and Fannin is about to be creamed for a four-yard loss, Fannin catches it. So it goes.
— Some credit is in order to the Hog secondary. Auburn’s helped out, of course (you can’t help but wonder how different this game would have been if Todd hits Zachery for that easy 6), but there have also been times Todd has dropped back, had time, and just had no one open. That wasn’t happening against Georgia or the Tide.
— I can’t think of an Auburn fan who before the season, presented with the option of being 5-1 after six games with the only loss to Arkansas in Fayetteville, wouldn’t have grabbed that with both hands. Yeah, it would have been nice not to be run off the field, but it’s not like we haven’t seen Auburn run off the field by the Hogs before and still go on to have a pretty damn good year.
— Goals for the second half: don’t get anyone else hurt, get Todd back in his previous groove as best we can, play hard to the final buzzer.
Courtesy of friend-of-the-blog Rod, a kind of second in a series:
A lot us expected Todd 2: the Toddening to be some kind of horror film, and it has been … for Auburn’s opponents. Here’s to hoping Hog fans are watching through their fingers by the time things are done today.
— According to the Bitter Twitter, Byron Isom is with the team and on the field for warmups. I suspect he’s done what he has to do to be back in an Auburn uniform.
— Uh-oh. This is Jay G. Tate:
As best I can tell, LB Eltoro Freeman is not here. I don’t think he’s in trouble. I don’t think he’s been disciplined. I think he’s out on his own accord. I don’t know that for a fact. We’ll find out more later today.
Having any linebacker–much less one that we all know has plenty of raw talent and energy–that can walk and chew gum at the same time absent is Not Good. News as bad as Isom’s return is good.
— Not much in the way of exciting previewin’ links to bring you this a.m., but did you know Tommy Thigpen has Arkansas roots? Also recommended: Dr. Jolley’s insistence here at TWER that the running game holds to the key to victory, and Kevin Strickland’s preview, featuring this absolute beaut of a line on Auburn’s defense:
Nobody’s saying the Auburn defense is akin to the 17th Annual Crimson Tide “As Good as 1992″ defense. It’s probably not in the same neighborhood at this point.
Oh snap, y’all.
— See you at halftime for some analysis as instant as your coffee and oatmeal.
Acid Reign says
…..They’re saying at Auburn Undercover that Freeman didn’t make the trip. Still with the team, status up in the air…
Wow, Murphy’s Law in full effect here…
Excellent defensive plan, I must say. I think my approach would also have been to allow Mallett to hang out in the pocket with no pressure.
And boy am I happy that Tubs continues to screw Auburn from beyond his tenure. Thanks, buddy.
Before the game
Ref: Hey Earl, you got money on Arkansas?
Umpire: Yeah Joe Bob Billy Frank.
Ref: Okay. I got your back.
Phantom calls abound in Fayetteville… That, and Auburn is still sleepin’. WAKE ‘EM UP GUS!
Not even Murphy could see this one coming. Seriously – everything that could go wrong – other than the punting game – has. We’re gonna need some serious, serious second-half mojo to pull this one out.
Where the HELL did Arky come from?
1st half review: BOOM! Malletted.
oh brother says
1st half: AUful, hAUrrible, and just plain shAUtty in general. oy vey.
Jerry..Halftime…..I’m assuming you are sitting there in your L-A-Z Boy with mouth agape…..as I am…here in Destin, FL
Thanks Junky. I thought it was just me. How can you not have a helmet to helmet hit when you walk away with the AU receiver’s (Fannin) helmet stuck to yours?
Well, we fell to earth quickly on this one. Team looks totally unprepared for this game…on both sides of the ball. Offense is totally flat. Coming back from that Arky lead, based on what we’ve seen so far is a real long shot. I think getting ranked mentally screwed the team. O-line didn’t even bother showing up this game.
Sure, todd has missed on the zachery pass (for an easy TD), and missed Fannin on easy 3rd conversion.
But what about these refs? Guy blows up Fannin on screen- -lays on top of him yelling, then pulls off his helmet? HELLO? TAUNTING? Then 2 plays later they do basically the same thing to todd- -no flag. Etheridge gets caught swatting back, and THAT’s a flag? Bynes phantom pass interference? I’m pulling my hair out
and these commentators. Just Shut up.
What bothers me isn’t the loss – a little perspective, and 5-1 with a loss in a weird game is very, very good given last year’s dreck. What bothers me is that it makes no damn sense. The two things we knew for sure about Arky going into this game were: bad defense, bad run game.
Yep. Hit the outs and the inside runs enough, we have to bring the safety down and play cover 1, and they hit the fade down the sideline.
Awesome pass interference call. These are some excellent zebras.
Yeah, I’m ok with losing it…not the end of the world…but I hate to see us blasted like this. Looks like a complete collapse now.
WDEwg, watch the play again when Fannin gets his helmet pulled off. The facemasks get locked up and since no one seems to want to buckle their chin straps anymore, Fannin’s helmet just pops off…
AAAAAHH LADIES AND GENTLEMEN BEN TATE AAAAAHH WAR EAGLE
Tate takes it in…Auburn is fighting back now. Feel better.
Arkansas is taking it easy, sitting on the lead…Tate punishes them.
Hate the two-point decision. A comeback but loss on those crucial points would be poetic torture.
Woah….we’re back in this game, just like that!
20 points in what, 6 minutes? This should be a 3 point game BEN!
blah, real terrible KO coverage…
Our D is gassed…need to hold here.
Oh…it slipped away.
It didn’t make a difference in the game…but the officiating has been incompetent. Last I’ll say about it.
Well, the mr. Brightside in me says that a road game with tons of penalties (real or imagined), turnovers and near misses at 11 a.m. againts an offense that just clicked and got a lot of breaks HAS to be the worst case scenario for this season, right?
The good news – we still can control our own destiny in the West so let’s get it back on track.
Am I being a stereotypically fickle Auburn fan if I were to suggest Ted Roof’s continued employment after this season may not be productive? Or does he deserve an automatic pass based on the lack of depth he was left with?
And I love Wes Byrum’s return to form but Jay Boulware obviously needs some help in his department.
That was a tough loss, because I thought it would be much closer. Still, overall very happy with the season thus far. Kentucky will tell us a lot about how we bounce back and how we correct. We shot ourselves in the foot a lot in this game.
“Or does he deserve an automatic pass based on the lack of depth he was left with?”
I think the lack of depth really is haunting us on D. Certainly premature to even think of replacing any coaches this season.
We need some help. No doubt. Only thing keeping me balanced is the fact that we have help and better players coming. We are absolutely cursed for 11:00 games. I blame tubby. Also, anyone hear tubby on JOX Birmingham trying to fire up the razorbacks. I don’t think he understands that what keeps craneworks going is Auburn graduates (IE construction companies). Hopefully we can get him off the air for good. Let him get made fun of my ESPN guys instead of finebaum or other.
I said before the season that I thought it would be VERY tough for us to win this ballgame. I just didn’t like it. I don’t like how this one turned out, but I’m not heartbroken.
The fact is that before the season, we would have been ecstatic to be 5-1 at this point. There are 3 wins left out there easy. That’s 8 wins. If 8 wins wasn’t something you would have been happy with at the beginning of this year, I don’t know that you’re not clinically insane.
Jevan Snead is a horrible quarterback. I think we can beat Kentucky, Old Piss, and Furman. There’s 3 right there, and Georgia certainly looks beatable.
War Damn Eagle anyway
Dave, remember that Roof’s working under the twin burdens of an offense that really puts stress on your depth AND no depth to speak of. We’re starting a true freshman at safety, Adam Herring at linebacker, and two new tackles, AND there’s no one in the second string other than Fairley or Washington (Carter too, I guess … he looked better today) who’s really going to help all that much. He deserves at least one more year.
I agree WBE. I am more concerned with Special team coach. He has been warned. I don’t want this to turn into a greg Knox situation. Herring is not an SEC linebacker. We are in trouble down the stretch with depth. Coleman is no where to be found and that is trouble with good QBs we will face. Our secondary actually kept us in the game on some situations. Our defensive line is the worst I can remember. Bates is still a stud. We just need to be more physical all around defensively.
Just one note. The Arkansas player was not grinding his helmet into Tate’s facemask. The helmets were actually stuck together.
I think Arkansas has less Punks today than it did any time under Nutt.
Yeah, I think I knew that, just posting out of rage and shame. There were plenty of good reasons why this shouldn’t have been a terribly surprising or disappointing loss, but the parade of mistakes and missed opportunities to mount a comeback make it hurt worse than it should.
Still for Jay Boulware’s sake I hope he’s familiar with Monster.com.
Dude, I told you when you picked us by three touches that you planted the death seed for this game. If we are EVER favored again at Arkansas I’m putting my life savings and taking out as many loans as I can get on Arky because we always find a way to dick it up against them. That being said, I think we needed this because we are not as good as this blog and every other auburn blog on the planet made us out to be. We are good, but we aren’t Alabama good.
Just one of those days-young team, all the wrong planets lined up. Nothing more, nothing less. Just can’t seem to shake the nagging feeling someone figured out Gus’s playbook or stole the hand signals or something.
I live in ATL-newspapers are all over the Dawgs. I can tell you from the newspaper and radio coverage while it’s still “great to be an Auburn Tiger” not so much “great to be a GA Bulldog.”
5-1…..before the season started any AU fan would have taken that. And if I recall, Ark was scoring over 40 per game before we arrived. Defense really in trouble though….Roof getting the heat of course but IMO with only a couple healthy LBs and injuries all over the place we are going to see some big numbers all year long.
I was at the game yesterday. From a Hog perspective, it was hands down our most complete performance of the year. A couple of points from what I saw from Auburn. I know our secondary has been torched and the Hog run defense has been pretty good, but I was surprised that Gus didn’t run the ball more in the first half. That is Auburn’s bread and butter. I told a friend earlier in the week, that I would perfectly comfortable with a Hog defensive scheme that said “make Todd beat us” and I think that was the story of the first half. The Auburn run game was outstanding in the third quarter, enough to make me queasy. The Johnson KO return and subsequent score squelched that and then it was pin your ears back time for our defense in the 4th. I know many of you are not happy about the Tiger defense but the Petrino offense….enough said. They will get better. Chizik is too good a defensive guy for them not to improve. Having said all of that, knowing what Gus can do and looking at the remaining schedule, I like Auburn to finish no worse than 9-3. Like everyone else, I questioned the Chizik hire and the jury is still out, but my gut is that he is more than a solid hire. You guys have an great program, great fans and a team I consistently root for when not playing the Hogs. Good luck the rest of the way.
Wes, just for the record, that was Kevin (or Tubby?) that picked AU by three scores. I said 37-35 and that it wouldn’t surprise me if the Hogs came away with it.
Thanks for the comments, NH. Good luck to the Hogs.
if i didn’t watch the game and you told me Tate fumbled in the red zone, but had a 180 yds rushing and 2 TDs….i would assume we won. i would be wrong.
how did one of the worse defenses in the sec get more sacks in this game than the 5 previous games before? we are still 5-1 but that one stings.
Jeff, I’ll have to watch the play again, but I thought the reason they were stuck together (which, the second time I saw it, was why Tate’s helmet came off) was because there was grinding to start with. In any case, that leg whip was totally uncalled for, and in my mind that and the previous complaints against the Hogs cast doubt on how accidental that later chop lbock was as well.
I need to watch the game again before I retract anything, is what I’m sayin.’
AuBURN got burned today by a totally superior team. If we play that game 10 times AuBURN gets their butts handed to them 10 times. What a laugh for anyone at Chop Block U to accuse another university of playing dirty. I guess you guys missed the play where the AuBURN player grabs Reggie Fish’s head with both hands. Arkansas will win out and AuBURN is on their way to mediocrity.
Hog fan here.
This was definately one of those games no one could’ve predicted, but the fact of the matter is, the Hogs played great, aggressive defense. Their first complete game of the year, with of course the exception of the 5 minute span in the 3rd qr.
The Tigers won’t stay down though. They have a very good defensive-minded head coach, and an awesome OC in Gus Malzhan.
I think you guys, along with the Hogs, will both beat Ole Miss this season.
Auburn and Arkansas will most likely end up competing for the 3rd spot in the West.
Thanks, GH. I think the Hogs make 8-4 at worst, and if Mallett is on his game I genuinely think you guys have a shot at Florida this Saturday. The Gators haven’t been making the big plays you guys have been giving up–if they try to grind out the same kind of win they got against LSU and Tennessee, I’m not sure they don’t lose a 21-20-type stunner.
I don’t really like to run my mouth before games, for a couple of reasons. First, it just seems unclassy. Second, I guess I’ve been disappointed before so I subscribe to the Lou Holtz school of poormouthing our chances to keep from having to eat crow later.
The other thing is, though, I guess I just discovered I have even less respect for some clocksucker who likes to come in after the war and bayonette the wounded than I do for someone who at least has the BALLS to trash talk ahead of the game. Oh, well, what should I expect from someone whose blog-handle seems to be a proposition to like-gendered participants?
To the rest of the Hawg fans, congrats on the win. Your team came out fired up and ready to kick some fanny, and I congratulate you on your victory. I don’t know if our offense was that bad, or your defense that good, but boy did your Hawgs own all but 5 minutes of that game. It was an impressive showing for your bunch. Congrats.
Thought I’d drop a line to let you whiners know how gutless you sound when you only have the “no call” on the hit where the helmets stuck together to complain about. Your problem lies in that Gus’ offense is, was, and always will be a high school offense. Bama will destroy you!! As long as you have that elemetary offense, you will lose to middle to upper level competition. It works against you if you go 3 and out every time you get the ball. Your DB’s are exhausted and you DL gets pushed off the ball in the 4th quarter. Good luck with the rest of your season. Really! Every win makes all our sophomores that just dusted you look all the better. It’ll be worse at your place next year when Mallet has had this first year to acclimate myself to the offense and all these young WR’s.
What is classless is crying about another team being dirty when you are a fan of the dirtiest team in the SEC. I guess you don’t know Chop blocks are against the rules to protect players from career ending injuries. But you whining bastards want to gripe about dirty play when you are known as chop block U. I guess to you it is classy to injure a kid. What a punk ass idiot you are.
Knoxville Tiger says
You are right. Chop blocks are dirty plays. Do you remember who got flagged for a chop block on Saturday? The piggies did, the Tigers did not. Why don’t you take a drive on over to Knoxvegas, jackass?